Over the past five years, Ben UFO has acquired a deserved reputation as one of contemporary dance music’s most daring and wide-ranging selectors, with his keen ear and razor-sharp technical abilities enabling him to cut between eras, lineages and mixing styles with dazzling ease and fluidity.
Having cut his teeth in early dubstep and drum ’n’ bass, his roots lie in UK rave culture - yet his selections cast the net wider, drawing new mutations of this culture into the orbit of house, techno and other global dancefloor sounds. In the club, his sets somehow manage to be simultaneously considered and raucous, sliding from sidewinding broken rhythms into an irresistible four-to-the-floor groove, or broadsiding you with unexpected tangents, old favourites and bizarre secret weapons.
Thomson’s development as a DJ has been inextricably linked to the maturing of Hessle Audio, the label he co-founded in 2007 alongside Pearson Sound and Pangaea. Just as dubstep was starting to unfurl into a sprawling, globalized festival sound, Hessle Audio, in stark contrast, emerged with a strikingly focused, spacious and percussive aesthetic. As the scene continued to unravel, they went on to become one of the most coherent focal points within a rapidly diverging UK dance music community, through their DJ sets, label releases and radio shows on London station Rinse FM. Listening back to Ben’s two official mix CD releases, 2011’s Rinse:16 and 2013’s Fabriclive.67, you can hear snapshots of that evolutionary process in action; they plot subtle and often surprising connections between the pirate radio-borne genres he grew up with, and the worldwide house and techno scene.
It’s refreshingly difficult to pin down what makes Ben’s DJing distinctive and exciting, whether you encounter it on the radio, in a recorded mix or on the dancefloor. If there’s a core characteristic of his approach it’s an infectious warmth and restless love of exploration, exemplified by his habit of meshing mind-bendingly strange tracks into peak-time sets, and by the way his Thursday night shows on Rinse FM weave together jacking unreleased dance cuts with new finds and dubbed-out oddities from across the globe. In the club, he shapes these elements into something rich and unpredictable, interspersing phases of driving momentum with joyful curveballs and ruptures in the flow that jolt you back to your senses — moments, as he describes it, that feel like coming up for air on the dancefloor.
This fascination with the possibilities of dance music, stemming from Thomson’s formative years spent absorbing the sound-system weight of London’s Plastic People club, extends to his desire to continue playing for huge crowds as well as in tiny, sweaty basements — from large-scale outdoor festivals and world-renowned clubs such as Fabric and Panoramabar, to the intimate spaces of Hamburg’s Golden Pudel, Tokyo’s Air, or Freerotation festival, where the Hessle Audio trio are annual residents. The appeal of his fluid and open-minded approach is self-evident in the way it crosses genre crowds and spans nominal divides between underground and mainsteam. In recent years, for example, he’s played back-to-back with DJs as varied in style as Jackmaster, Morphosis, Gerd Janson, Joy Orbison and DJ Nobu, as well as recording mixes for both staunchly independent platforms like The Trilogy Tapes and Truants, and for widely-acclaimed series such as Resident Advisor and BBC Radio 1’s long-running Essential Mix.
From their early years in Leeds, Ben UFO and Hessle Audio have evolved into core figures in an increasingly globally-connected dance music scene. Having provided an early platform for music from kindred innovative spirits such as Blawan, Peverelist, Untold and Joe, the label continues to release new music from both its founders and emerging new artists. This openness marks the cornerstone of Ben’s approach: drawing connections, exploring new ideas, and feeding some of Hessle Audio’s energy and enthusiasm back into the musical communities of which they are an integral part.
In this day and age of music cross-polination, Claude VonStroke sits at the forefront of all that is good, proper and most importantly, fun.
VonStroke is just as relaxed in his home studio building beats as he is dropping massive underground records in a room filled by thousands. DJ-wise, his relentless touring of every major city, festival and basement after-party around the world has only enriched his unique perspective on music.
As the owner of the record label, DIRTYBIRD, Claude also built an impeccable A&R roster signing acts like Justin Martin, Julio Bashmore, Catz n Dogz, Riva Starr, Tim Green, Breach, Eats Everything, Shadow Child and Shiba San, well before they broke out of their hometown scenes. (And even naming a few of these artists.) Today, DIRTYBIRD continues to surprise and innovate in the underground dance scene, releasing an enigmatic combination of house, funk, dirty-bass and electronica. Sonically, VonStroke has released three original artist albums, a remix album and several high profile mix and remix compilations. Highlights include working with and on records for Bootsy Collins, Rihanna, Disclosure and Green Velvet as well as a few number #1 & #2 hits on Beatport. Most importantly, VonStroke has kept it original, fun and funky.
A lot of his success can be attributed to a good attitude. Claude does not scowl and look mean while he DJs. He does not pretend to know everything and he truly loves his fans. He is grateful to be curating, creating and performing music for a living and he knows that the reason people go to parties is to shake their booty and have fun. Catch him play at numerous festivals, clubs or even better at his legendary DIRTYBIRD BBQ series of outdoor events.
As the late Oscar Wilde once said: life is too important to be taken seriously, an ethos that Justin Martin is sticking with despite achieving soaring success over the last six years as a producer and international DJ. Justin initially pricked the ears of the electronic music community in 2003 with his first record The Sad Piano on Ben Watts Buzzin Fly label. Everyone in the electronic music food chain got involved, from the A list DJs like Derrick Carter and Pete Tong that were playing the track, to the international music press that were raving about it. It even translated to the German underground, with Poker Flat licensing it for Steve Bugs Bugnology compilation. Like someone that goes bowling for the first time and gets five strikes and a turkey, Justin couldn't really have hoped for a better entrance.
Feeding off the energy of the San Francisco underground and mentored by fellow super producer Claude Vonstroke, Justin was intrinsically involved with the development of dirtybird records, appearing on its first four releases. Justin was soon ready to take flight, releasing a string of solo EPs which flaunted a very unique sound and garnered still more respect among fellow DJS and heavyweights of the scene. As well as his formidable arsenal of original productions, Justin is now equally known for his collaborations with his brother Christian as The Martin Brothers, producing such hip-hop influenced hits as Stoopit and Dum. Justin has also made his mark remixing such bona fide classics as Radiohead's Nude, Marshall Jeffersons Mushrooms, and TGs Revox, firmly establishing himself as the man to make big tracks even bigger.
Demand for Justin's skills behind the decks has skyrocketed with his bookings schedule basically crammed to capacity for the next 4 months. With bookings confirmed everywhere from Exit Festival (Belgrade), to Sonar (Barcelona) to Panorama Bar (Berlin), Justins diary is reading like the dreams of a professional raver. Stateside he continues to be a regular fixture at the dirtybird events in San Francisco and beyond. Further nods to his skills as a DJ and tastemaker are apparent in his growing discography of mix compilations, most notably his own Chaos Restored mix series on the prestigious Buzzin Fly label.
Music journalists typically describe Justin's sound as melodic and tough with his music encapsulating both melody and emotional depth yet always with enough undeniable ass shaking properties to translate to the floor. I'm always trying to find music for my DJ sets that rattles sound systems, but still has enough melody and interesting texture to expand your mind even if you're sitting at home on a snowy or rainy day. In 2009, production wise Justin has a few EPs scheduled to drop on dirtybird, a remix for Freerange, and a DJ mix for Ministry of Sounds Underground series compilation. He remains as enthusiastic as ever to be involved in the scene. When recently questioned by Resident Advisor on what he'd be doing if he wasn't a DJ or dance music producer he just replied: Wishing I was a DJ or music producer. By all accounts it's hard to tell him to wipe that smile off his face.
Among East Africa’s most exciting DJs and a core member of Kampala’s Nyege Nyege collective, Kampire’s vibrant bass-heavy sets have transported her to clubs & festivals across the world.
One of Mixmag’s picks for Top Ten Breakthrough DJs of 2018, Kampire’s set on Boiler Room broadcast from Nyege Nyege festival was a legitimate ‘internet moment’, with thousands of shares on Facebook leading to serious FOMO from electronic music fans watching online.
Kampire’s DJ mixes have been featured on Resident Advisor, Dekmantel and Fact Magazine, and her 2019 Rinse FM radio residency has seen her shine a light on other East African DJs & artists, including Hibotep, Faizal Mostrixx & Catu Diosis.
French producer Leo Pol is known for conjuring insatiable grooves. At only 28 years old, Leo-Pol Poirel has already been practicing electronic music for over a decade and gained an impressive array of titles; label boss, resident of one of the most renowned clubs in the world, multidisciplinary producer.
It was back in 2015 when he released an anonymous EP on his label Unille which really put his name on the map. The EP now sells for over 120Euro and track “You Got The Funk” has almost 4 million views on YouTube. Leo went on to found his second label, ILLE, focused on analog 90’s house with a powerful edge. He has released 2 EP’s under his name thus far on the imprint. With a string of impressive releases under his belt and a budding reputation of an enigmatic live set, it was no surprise that in 2016 Paris’ infamous house and techno club Concrete signed him as a resident. He also went on to release an EP on the club's label Concrete Music.
He now travels the world, with analog gear in tow, playing some of the best clubs in the world – Panorama Bar, Printworks, Shelter, DC-10, Robert Johnson, I-Boat, audio, Motion and more. His live performance is fast, hypnotic and above all captivating. A lot of new projects are on the way including an electro album, a new wave side project and techno live act. Leo Pol will be performing a live set at Bass Coast 2020.
Lewis James is a musician and sound designer from Dublin, Ireland. Influenced most notably by his love of Hiphop, soul, electronica, DnB and bass music. He released his first EP on Tokyo’s Raid System in 2012, Followed by several releases on Astrophonica / Exit Records / 1985music / RAM records / Rua Sounds amongst others. Lewis is a multi-instrumentalist, and a producer of impressive diversity. Throughout his career he has worked in a lot of different areas as well as the music scene including film, tv and games with a variety of talent including, Tyler Bates, Lorn, Om Unit, D-Styles, Kid Drama, Sam Binga and Grandeurs Of Delusion to name but a few. His unique approach to combining the worlds of music and sound design is the keystone of his colourful, intense and sometimes sometimes surreal sound.
Moxie has forged a career that has taken her all over the world to some of the most renowned clubs including Fabric, De School, Concrete and the energy dome of Berghain’s Panorama Bar.... as well as India, Africa, Australia and other locations across the world, to DJ in recent years. As a radio DJ who started out covering for Sinden’s Kiss FM show in 2010, Moxie has gone on to hold down The Residency and INDJ’s We Trust slots on BBC Radio 1 and continues to have one of the longest standing residencies on NTS. Her weekly show is a staple for the latest in house, disco, techno and beyond, peppered with her engaging and charismatic radio chat - hosting guests from some of dance music’s leading artistic forces including Jeff Mills, Midland, Four Tet, Honey Dijon and more. This lead to her being featured in Time Out’s article of London’s 10 best radio shows, and a main focus in Mixmag’s piece about the Rise of The Selector. She’s also provided online mixes for some of the best series around – with Truants, FACT, Solid Steel, and Triple J to name but a few. Alongside her illustrious radio and DJ career, Moxie has established herself as a promoter and label founder with On Loop. Started in 2016, the party has rapidly gained momentum, welcoming artists such as Matthew Herbert, Or:La, Leon Vynehall and Joy Orbison, in venues across Europe and the UK – including Amsterdam, Lyon, Paris, and on-going residencies at London’s Pickle Factory, The Soup Kitchen in Manchester, and Sneaky Pete’s in Edinburgh, alongside finding a home at one of her life long favourite festivals, Glastonbury, and presenting stages at Oxford’s Common People & Festival no.6 in Wales. The accompanying label is now moving onto its fourth compilation, having previously released music from Shanti Celeste, Lone, Nabihah Iqbal and Addison Groove. On Loop was championed as one of Mixmag’s Top 20 labels of 2017, and nominated for ‘Best Compilation’ at the DJ Mag awards. When it comes to the more talkative aspect of Moxie’s career in music, NTS isn’t the only place that you’ll find her voice through your speakers. Working in collaboration with Resident Advisor, she has transferred her skills as a radio DJ to voiceover work, narrating their new series of video essays with features on Burial, Moodymann, and Larry Heard, as well as contributing to the RA Exchange Podcasts. Stepping out from behind the microphone, Moxie appears in RA’s Real Scenes: London film, talking about her experience growing up with London pirate radio, and how the city’s club culture informed her. With a touring schedule ever growing at a rapid pace, Moxie continues to take her unique culmination of expertise to clubs and spaces around the globe – seamlessly fusing anything from classic Chicago house to obscure leftfield breaks, or glittering disco with energetic percussive rollers, entertaining and educating club goers wherever the journey takes her.
Or:la’s story has followed a different trajectory to most. After moving to Liverpool in 2012 from a small town in Northern Ireland, a fascination of collecting old electronic records soon side tracked her media production degree and paved the way for what was to come
She first burst onto the production scene in 2016 after her debut release, ‘UK Lonely’ on Hotflush Recordings; a four track EP that flaunts enviable range and seems to contradict the producer’s youthful years. After a string of successive releases on Hotflush, 2017 saw the birth of vinyl-only imprint ‘Deep Sea Frequency’, co-founded by Or:la which has since released an eclectic mix of EPs from the likes of Pépe, DJ Seinfeld and herself. It will continue to put out music from both budding under-rated musicians and established producers on the scene.
A vast knowledge of various genres and tempos is what separates Or:la from many other young DJ’s at the moment; aptly summed up by Thump as “One of the most underrated DJs on the UK circuit at the moment, and one of those selectors blessed with the ability to really tell a story.” When playing her revered ‘all night long’ sets, Or:la’s sound channels a nostalgic broken beat vibe, spanning chuggy acid numbers to skippy percussive sounds and more techno-leaning four to the floor.
Or:la’s growing success as a dynamic producer and genre-spanning selector has, in 2017 alone, seen her gain a residency at the Warehouse Project in Manchester, a bimonthly show on NTS Radio and win DJ Mag’s ‘Breakthrough DJ of the year’.
Or:la is also recognised for co-founding and running the forward thinking and highly successful nomadic club night ‘Meine Nacht’ up until 2017.
Multi-genre music producer & DJ Alex Dickson, aka Pugilist, has been producing and releasing music for over 10 years under various aliases. 2016 gave birth to the Pugilist alias and it didn’t take long for subsequent releases on labels such as Whities, Artikal Music, Nous Disques, Trusik, Temple of Sound and more.
Pugilist’s style spans many genres all falling under the bass umbrella. He masters the art of using few elements, superbly crafted and executed, to create compelling stories within his tracks. Full of swing and percussive-driven emotion, it’s tough to listen to his tunes without wanting to get up and dance.
The prolific output and versatility of Pugilist’s discography has gained DJ support from the likes of Gilles Peterson, Pinch, Nic Tasker, Objekt, Kenneth Christiansen, Batu, Laksa, Stenny, Forest Drive West, Mosca, Doc Scott, Samuel Kerridge, Orson & more.
From a young age, SHERELLE has always had an affinity for all things Left Field bass with artists like 4 Hero, Machinedrum and importantly DJ Rashad being her entry point into the world of DJing. With a focus on Footwork, Juke, Jungle and 160, she has a regular bi-weekly show on Reprezent Radio showcasing club music around the world, Guests have included Novelist, Jessy Lanza, DJ Fulltono, UNIIQU3, and Sinistarr. Her show is regarded by DJ Mag has “a rarity and one that should be protected at all costs”. SHERELLE has supported musical heavyweights like Kode9, Dillinja, DJ Paypal, TASO and french house legends like DJ Falcon, Crookers, and FEADZ. In 2017 she supported The Prodigy alongside MELE on their last leg of their sold-out night at the O2 Brixton Academy and has recently come back from completing a tour in Spain playing for Off-Sonar as a part of the Life & Death Festival. SHERELLE has made guest appearances on BBC Radio 1 and 1Xtra for Annie Nightingale’s show and had guest mix coverage from the likes of Resident Advisor, DJ Mag, Trench Magazine and Dummy Mag. She is regarded has a “...on-the-ball selector [and] passionate about music”. She has also featured in Fact Magazine’s 7 must-hear mixes from April 2018 alongside notable names like Nightwave and Object Blue, and made appearances on Just Jam & Keep Hush. In 2019, SHERELLE exploded into the public eye with one of the most culturally lauded Boiler Room performances in history, propelling the young DJ to the heights that she so thoroughly deserves. Shortly after, SHERELLE was featured on the esteemed Dazed100, demonstrating just how much of an impact she has had in such a short space of time.
Andrea Graham, better known by her stage name The Librarian, is a celebrated Canadian DJ, producer, and curator. She is the co-founder and music director of Bass Coast Music Festival – known internationally for its innovative music programming and installation art – and is widely considered one of bass music's leading creative minds and tastemakers. Equally an artist and entrepreneur, Andrea’s reputation as an inclusive community-builder in the electronic world has brought her a legion of fans and industry followers across the globe.
As a DJ, Andrea's sets move through bass music, dubstep, grime, footwork, jungle, drum and bass and more, tying the diverse genres together with fluid mixing and powerful low end frequencies that push the boundaries of the world's biggest PAs. Andrea performs throughout Canada, the USA, Australia, Central America, and has upcoming debut appearances in India and Southeast Asia. Past performance highlights include Coachella, Symbiosis, Bumbershoot, Lightning in a Bottle, Bass Center, Freestyle Sessions, Rainbow Serpent, and Shambhala.
Andrea studied classical piano, jazz piano, guitar and voice until early adulthood, before translating that classical skillset into her passion for electronic music in the early 2000’s. The Librarian moniker was given to her by friend and Bass Coast co-founder Liz Thomson, referring to her signature glasses and expansive library of music.
Andrea currently resides in Squamish, BC, Canada. When not touring or programming Bass Coast Festival, she is embarking on a highly anticipated body of original studio work, with new music arriving in 2019.
The Funk Hunters
In a sea of carbon-copy producers, The Funk Hunters have cultivated their signature sound by creating forward-thinking electronic music that is influenced by old school funk, soul and hip-hop.
As longtime friends, collaborators, and multi-dimensional artists, Nick Middleton and Duncan Smith’s chemistry is perfectly aligned. Middleton steers the band’s studio efforts, having produced, co-written, and mixed their debut album, TYPECAST. And Smith anchors the project’s live show with an indefatigable charisma that compliments Middleton’s thoughtful production. Together they combine their powers as DJs, resulting in a brilliant technical display of creative collaboration between 4 turntables.
Their vision has resonated with both listeners and industry tastemakers alike, with their music amassing over 10 million track streams across their catalog of original productions, remixes and collaborations. Winners of the Electronic/Dance Artist of the Year at the Western Canadian Music Awards, The Funk Hunters also reached #1 on the Billboard Dance Club Chart last year, with an official remix of U2's "Love Is Bigger." Their catalog also includes other official remixes for Big Gigantic, Gramatik, Selena Gomez, and Imagine Dragons.
In addition to studio work, The Funk Hunters enjoy a vibrant global touring career with major festival plays at Coachella, Life Is Beautiful, Lightning in a Bottle, Electric Forest, Osheaga, Outside Lands, Burning Man, and Shambhala. They consistently play to the biggest dance floors in the world - frequent collaborator Chali 2na of Jurassic 5 fame has called them "the selectah's of the century."